Beautiful Dollbaby

Beautiful Dollbaby
Our Angel in Heaven

Monday, September 19, 2011

Her Funeral...

The last time I really wrote about the story of what happened with Ashley, I wrote that I left the hospital.  Her funeral was most painful.  After I was released I saw my doctor and requested anti anxiety medication and anti depressants.  Just in case.  My husbands parents flew in.  It was all I could do to get out of bed.

The week before my daughter funeral was a living hell.  Well, the whole situation was and is.  I don't use that terminology to offend anyone but merely to portray how horrible it was.

I probably waited a bit to long to tell this part of our story, but it was so painful I couldn't write about it.  So if some of this is a repeat, please forgive me.  But I am going to now attempt to recall some painful memories.  Because any memory of a parent burying their child is painful.

After we left the hospital we came home.  And as I said earlier, his parents flew in a few days later.  My days were spent crying and answering questions about how we wanted our daughters funeral to be handled.  Could you imagine planning your newborn baby's funeral? Imagine her laying in a coffin? Laying in the ground? It's a gruesome and horrible thing.  We were and are so blessed to have my aunt who took care of the details.  We knew we wanted to keep it simple because drawing it out too much would be too much for me to handle.  So a graveside service was planned.  I chose two songs.  One was recommended to my aunt that I listen to over and over.  That song is "I Will Carry You".  I have actually posted the YouTube link on my blog.  The song portrays exactly how I feel.  The other song was "Jesus Loves Me".  From the beginning that song had been playing over and over in my mind.  Not all the verses.  But definitely the part about "Little ones to him belong".  I never realized how perfect the song really was until I listened to it at the funeral.

At one point we discovered that a pastor my husband knew was now living in CA.  Actually, he was the pastor of his home church in Birmingham and had recently relocated here.  I had already decided that I just wanted my grandpa to be grandpa and not carry the burden of presiding over his first great-grandchild's funeral.  So I suggested that we get the pastor my husband and his parents knew.  Not to mention, we'd just moved to CA where my husband hardly knew a soul outside my family and his parents know no one but us as well.  I thought it would give them a kind of comfort to see a familiar face.

We had an outfit given to us by the hospital to bury her in but that's not what I wanted.  Imagine having to pick out an outfit for your baby daughter to be buried in.  Horrible.  But I wanted her to have something pretty.  And I needed to pick it out.  I cannot describe to you how strong my desire was to pick this out myself with my husband.  In fact, the only reason my mother came was just to help me get around.  I remember combing Toys'r'Us, Walmart, and Build a Bear.  It was so exhausting, not only mentally but physically.  I guess most post-partum women aren't out running around days after they give birth because they're at home recuperating with their baby.  Instead I'm running around the store overwhelmed and determined.  We eventually found a white christening gown at a doll store that was perfect.  You see, she needed socks and shoes and this outfit had it.  Little white booties with socks and a beautiful dress.

I had my husband take me to Michaels at one point and I bought yarn.  It was the most expensive and tiny blanket I had ever planned to make.  I just did it.  I didn't really tell anyone, including him, what and why I was getting this yarn.  But they figured it out.  In fact, I didn't even want to say that I was making a blanket to bury my daughter in.  But I made it.  And boy was I determined to finish it.  It was pink.  And beautiful.  Just like her.

My other mission in regards to burying my child was to find a Bible to bury her with.  She needed a Bible.  I had something in mind and couldn't find it.  We went to several stores in search of the tiniest Bible we could find.  But the smallest thing we found was an New Testament.  So we left empty handed and had resigned ourselves to using a small pink new testament that my aunt had.  But then one day my mom stopped by a store we went and came back with a beautiful surprise.  It was a tiny white Bible.  Not a complete Bible, it only had some verses in it.  But it was perfect.  I cried.  It was her size.  I don't know why it was so important to me for her to have a Bible, but it was.  In fact, while we were looking I saw all these 'My first Bibles' and was saddened by not being able to get her one.  So I was so thrilled for her to have a Bible that was just her size.  And I'm so grateful to the store manager that when my mother told him what it was for, donated it to our Ashley.

I had one last mission for her funeral.  Those that know me, know I detest dresses.  In fact, I threatened to wear jeans at my own wedding.  Funerals? I were dark slacks.  But for my daughter, I had to have a black dress.  I went from store to store to store with my mother searching.  Searching and searching with nothing to show but frustration.  I went to at least 5 stores before we found the dress I chose at JcPenney.  I just knew I'd know the dress when I found it.  Kind of like the outfit I bought for Ashley.  I knew it was right when I found it and cried.  I did.  I cried the moment I saw Ashley's burial outfit and I cried when I tried on this dress.  In fact, I didn't try on the rest of the dresses I had in my hand.  Mommy found the perfect black dress for my perfect daughter.

When I wasn't on the hunt for the above items I was exhausted and heart broken.  I would break down and cry.  I would go without showering.  I was showing the signs of depression, post-partum depression.  Eventually my husband talked me into taking the anti-depressants and I took the anti-anxiety medication to sleep.

I remember my husband's parents taking pictures and my refusing to smile.  I could just not find any happiness.  I was in no mindset to make people happy and pretend to be ok.  People would ask me how I was and I would tell them I was doing crappy.  I learned to be blatantly honest.  I learned to cry without shame.

The days leading up to the funeral I kind of felt numb.  I had to put myself in this mindset to get through it.

The first time I went to the funeral home was to walk 3 stores down from the doll shop to the funeral home to deliver her outfit.  It was just something I had to do.  I remember my feet slowing down the closer we got.  I cried as we reached the door.  We got inside and I broke down.  I wasn't supposed to be there.  I told the funeral director to please take special care of her feet and hands and not to use much make up.

At Ashley's visitation I was shocked.  They had used too much make up.  I wanted her face to be red, not white with thick ivory make up.  I held her for a little bit but not long because I thought 'this isn't my daughter, she looks nothing like she did'.  I felt like my wishes were ignored.  She didn't look bad.  I just wanted my baby and everything was wrong.  The casket, her make-up, everything.  Everything was wrong because the whole situation wasn't right.  I remember my husband saying, "Little girl, you are wearing too much make-up for your age."  I remember people coming in and out.  I remember sitting there not wanting this to be my life.

The day of her funeral was rough.  I got up, showered, and got dressed.  I barely put on foundation. I mean, why was make up important? It wasn't.  I was doing good to be upright.  The pastor came to our house and we all drove to the cemetery.  My parents, my sister, the pastor, and my husband and I caravaned to the Clovis Cemetery.  My grandpa picked Ashley up.  He wanted to do this and we were honored.  What was more heartbreaking than that was that my husband wanted to carry Ashley to the graveside.

If my husband was going to carry our daughter to her resting place I was going to walk right by his side.  I don't know where he found the strength to do this.  Because I was broken.  I remember him shaking.  I held onto his arm to show my support.  We were both crying.  Why is this our life? Are we really walking and carrying our daughter to lay in the ground? I have such respect for my husband because of his actions.  A father should never have to carry his child to his/her grave.  It's a heartbreaking thing to see.  But it meant the world to me that he did this.

I don't remember the pastor's words.  I don't remember everyone that was there.  In fact, at the end I realized more people were in attendance than I thought.  I remember the songs.  I remember crying.  I remember wanting to scream out that I just wanted my baby.  I remember feeling like this was all wrong.  This tiny pink casket not much bigger than a large shoe box was the most horrible thing in the world.  Ashley was supposed to bury us, not the other way around.  Her casket was so tiny on thing that holds the casket.  I remember thinking how big the casket holder looked compared to her tiny casket.

We stayed to watch them put her in the ground.  It was absolutely heart wrenching.

My husband had to pry me away from the grave and the cemetery.  I was basically a rag doll being told where to go and what to do.  I felt so helpless.

It felt so surreal to have people hold a luncheon at the church for us and our loss.  I never realized how helpful having food prepared for you was.  We certainly learned that blessing with meals brought to us and this luncheon prepared.

No parents should ever have to bury their child!

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